By Keith Idec
Joel Diaz didn’t like anything about Timothy Bradley’s brave performance against Ruslan Provodnikov, other than that Bradley won their spectacular slugfest.
Bradley’s trainer considers his reckless strategy that night unnecessary and unhealthy, and Diaz doesn’t want Bradley to suffer from serious boxing-induced physical issues once the Palm Springs, Calif., native retires. But now that Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) has completed an entire training camp for his WBO welterweight title defense against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Diaz is completely confident the Provodnikov fight hasn’t permanently damaged Bradley.
The former fighter admitted, though, that Bradley required some time at the start of this training camp to begin looking like his old self.
“I noticed a little bit at the beginning because his equilibrium wasn’t there,” Diaz said. “With time, he was getting better. He was focusing on losing weight. He had gained quite a bit of weight. So he was losing weight too fast. He had gained a lot of weight because he was inactive. As soon as he started getting back in shape, everything started to fall in place. His balance and equilibrium started to come back.
“As a trainer I always take that into consideration – how is he going to come back because he did get hit pretty hard? Week after week, he started getting better and he was reacting really good. And he told me that once he got back into shape he was going to be reacting really good. He’s been sparring with some tough sparring partners. He’s been getting hit real hard and been reacting really good. All reactions I have seen from him are normal and his reflexes are very sharp.”
Russia’s Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) hurt Bradley badly in the first, second, sixth, 11th and 12th rounds of a brutal battle March 16 in Carson, Calif., which instantly became a top candidate for “Fight of the Year.” Bradley survived serious trouble in those five rounds, including a knockdown late in the 12th, to win a unanimous decision (115-112, 114-113, 114-113) and remain unbeaten.
The 30-year-old Bradley suffered a severe concussion that night, yet he, too, is confident he has recovered because he visited several specialists before resuming training.
“A lot of fighters don’t know that there is a lot of help out there for these concussions,” said Bradley, who’ll meet Marquez in an HBO Pay-Per-View main event at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; $64.95 in HD). “NFL players have that help. My friends in the NFL got me the right treatment and I saw doctors out of New York and Long Beach that could aid and assist me with therapy work. Everything is back to normal now. I feel 100 percent and I never worried.
“Most people that have lingering effects and get multiple concussions never get help. They don’t get treatment. I’ve been getting treatment for the last five months.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.